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Risk factors for failure to thrive: A population-based survey

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Margaret Wright


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Aim To identify whether differences exist between failure to thrive children and controls in either demographic characteristics or parental rating of their eating and other behaviour. Methods As part of an intervention study, 97 children with failure to thrive were identified by population screening and received a standardized assessment by their health visitor at a median age of 15.1 months. This included standard questions to parents concerning their perception of their child's feeding history and behaviour. Their responses were compared with the parents of 28 normally growing children aged 16-18 months, systematically sampled from the same district. Results Cases had fallen through a mean of 1.69 weight standard deviation score and were markedly underweight for height. The case families had similar levels of deprivation, both to controls and city norms, and only four showed evidence of major neglect. Failure to thrive children had significantly more infancy feeding problems and were introduced to solids and finger foods later than controls; they were significantly more often described as variable eaters, undemanding and shy and less often as hungry. Cases liked most foods, but significantly less so than controls. Conclusions This suggests that the role of deprivation and neglect has been overstated and that undemanding behaviour, low appetite and poor feeding skills may contribute to the onset and persistence of failure to thrive. © 2000 Blackwell Science Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wright C, Birks E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Child: Care, Health and Development

Year: 2000

Volume: 26

Issue: 1

Pages: 5-16

ISSN (print): 0305-1862

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2214

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2214.2000.00135.x

PubMed id: 10696514


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